According to Perspective Malaysia, durian exports have not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the past two years in Malaysia, and the demand for Musang King durian in the Chinese market has been increasing, resulting in more and more durian orchards and durian processing plants in Malaysia. So the demand for liquid nitrogen becomes higher and higher.
Chen Zhiqiang, the founder of Diyi Durian Pte Ltd, who has been exporting durian for 14 years, said that he felt a sense of crisis about insufficient liquid nitrogen for the first time this year.
He said that with the increase in the number of durian processing plants, more and more people want a piece of the pie by exporting durian. In addition, the output of Musang King durian increased after the fruit farmers improved the cultivation techniques. Therefore, the demand for liquid nitrogen for rapid freezing purposes doubled.
Liquid nitrogen technology allows the durian to be rapidly frozen within an hour. The temperature of the durian can reach minus 18 degrees Celsius, and then it is packaged and exported to various countries. After thawing, its taste resembles fresh durian.
However, there are only three companies in Malaysia that produce liquid nitrogen.
Chen said every processing plant is requesting the liquid nitrogen producing companies to increase the production. But liquid nitrogen is expensive to produce, and Petronas has also increased its liquid nitrogen demand. However, durian is a seasonal fruit and liquid nitrogen is only needed during the year when the harvest is in season. Liquid nitrogen companies choose to provide liquid nitrogen to large enterprises.
The shortage has led to a 200% increase in the price of liquid nitrogen, and some processing plants are forced to make fresh pulp into purees because of insufficient liquid nitrogen to avoid losing everything.
Malaysian manufacturers also import liquid nitrogen from Singapore, but they can only supply it once a day, while the local liquid nitrogen company can supply it twice a day. Chen Zhiqiang pointed out that whether it is time or cost, locally produced liquid nitrogen is the best.
Huang Huajian, a durian orchard owner from Yongping, said that his frozen durian export business is also experiencing a shortage of liquid nitrogen, and he is struggling to find the supplies. His orchards planted Musang King, D101, D13, and Black Thorn durians. Although the harvest and the number of acquired durians increase this season, there is a shortage of liquid nitrogen.
"If the problem of liquid nitrogen shortage is not solved, we simply cannot handle frozen durian processing, which will affect future durian exports."
Source: 8 Horizon